Expectant mothers do everything in their power to prep their home for a new baby, including removing safety hazards and harmful chemicals. But what if the nursery, itself, is a health hazard? You might not be familiar with the term “off-gassing,” but it’s the odor associated with many of the non-metal goods we buy. It’s the furniture equivalent of a new-car smell.
Furniture and building materials can release chemicals into the air through evaporation. These products can off-gas for days, weeks and months. The results are magnified in a room full of new products and materials.
No other room in the house is as likely to be furnished all at once as a nursery! The biggest off-gassing culprits? Particle-board furniture, crib mattresses, carpet, upholstery that’s been treated to be stain-resistant and new fabrics in general. All of these items are normal purchases for expectant parents, so here are some tips for how to stay healthy.
Off-gassing is at its worst in heat and humidity, which you can use to your advantage! Consider heating the home to 86 degrees (without being in the room you’re airing out, of course) and then opening windows for several hours to force off-gassing chemicals out. Set up a powerful fan facing your open window to remove the worst fumes. You can repeat this several times until you notice a lessening of that “new” smell in the room.
Another simple way to reduce airborne chemicals in your nursery is to set out several dishes of baking soda near new furniture and upholstery. Baking soda absorbs chemicals, so it can greatly improve the air quality. Toss the baking soda after use, or better yet send it down the drain in your kitchen sink to refresh your disposal!
- Open windows in the nursery for a few hours a day.
- Open all drawers and closet doors and point a fan out the open window in the room.
- Ask to have items aired out in the warehouse if possible before delivery.
- Buy vintage or floor-model furniture pieces that have already off-gassed.
- Place potted plants in the nursery to improve air quality before the baby arrives.
For more information on VOCs: www.epa.gov
Have you used any of these tips in your nursery? Let us know what worked for you below in the comments!